OS X Tips and shortcuts

This is a discussion on OS X Tips and shortcuts within the OS X How-To's, Tutorials, Tips & Tricks forums, part of the Mac OS X category; If you spend a lot of time switching between web browsers for development or for whatever other reason, you’ll find Switch useful. Switch is a ...

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    Switch Sends All Tabs & Windows to a Different Web Browser in Mac OS X




    If you spend a lot of time switching between web browsers for development or for whatever other reason, you’ll find Switch useful. Switch is a handy free menu bar utility that transfers all browser tabs and windows between web browsers in Mac OS X. Whether you use Safari, Chrome, or Firefox, you can easily send whatever the active windows are to a different browser and back again just by pulling down the menu and selecting “Transfer to” that app.

    Install Switch to find a new menu bar item, then you need to right-click the icon to activate the pull-down menu to find the browsers to switch to. Within Switch preferences, you can also select a default browser to transfer to, that allows you to just click the menu bar icon itself to send all active windows there. You must use switch from an active browser window in order for it to work, or else you will get an error that says “Cannot transfer from current application”.

    Download Switch from the developer (free)


    4-3-12

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  3. #102
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    31 Useful Safari Keyboard Shortcuts




    Safari is the fast and lean default web browser bundled with Mac OS X. You probably already know a shortcut or two, but there are tons of shortcuts in Safari worth remembering that can really improve your experience browsing the web. We’ll cover 31 different keystrokes, they are grouped into different sections based on use case, and we’ve also included a few multi-touch gestures for those of us with multitouch capable Macs.


    8 Shortcuts for Navigating Tabs & Web Pages


    Switch to Next Tab – Control+Tab

    Switch to Previous Tab – Control+Shift+Tab

    Scroll Down by Full Screen – Spacebar

    Scroll Up by Full Screen – Shift+Spacebar

    Go to Address Bar – Command+L

    Open New Tab – Command+T

    Open Link in New Tab - Command+Click a link

    Add Linked Page to Reading List – Shift+Click link


    7 Shortcuts for Reading & Viewing Pages


    Strip Styling and View in Reader – Command+Shift+R

    Increase Text Size – Command+Plus

    Decrease Text Size – Command+Minus

    Default Text Size – Command+0

    Enter or Exit Full Screen – Command+Escape

    Open Home Page – Command+Shift+H

    Mail Link to Current Page – Command+Shift+I


    5 Shortcuts for Caches, Loading Pages, Source, and Pop Ups


    Empty Browser Cache – Command+Option+E

    Reload Page – Command+R

    Stop Loading Page - Command+.

    View Page Source – Command+Option+U

    Disable Pop Up Windows – Command+Shift+K


    3 Shortcuts for Finding and Navigating Found Items


    Find Text on Page – Command+F

    Navigate Found Items Forward – Return

    Navigate Found Items Backwards – Shift+Return


    8 Shortcuts for Toolbars, History, and Reading List


    Hide or Show Toolbar – Command+i

    Hide or Show Bookmarks Bar – Command+Shift+B

    Hide or Show Status Bar – Command+/

    Hide or Show Tab Bar – Command+Shift+T

    Show Top Sites – Command+Option+1

    Show History – Command+Option+2

    Show Reading List – Command+Shift+L

    Show Downloads – Command+Option+L


    Bonus: 4 Safari Multi-Touch Gestures


    Go Back – Two Finger Swipe Left

    Go Forward – Two Finger Swipe Right

    Zoom Out / Decrease Font Size – Pinch

    Zoom In / Increase Font Size – Spread / Reverse Pinch

    There are even more keyboard commands, but the above lists recommend the most useful. If you’re looking through the menus and wondering what some of those symbols are, our recent post on Mac keyboard symbols should help decipher some of the peculiar looking glyphs.

    Want to learn more keystrokes for other apps? Browse through our other keyboard shortcut lists, you’ll notice there are often similarities between the shortcuts and apps, particularly those created by Apple.


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    15 Must know Firefox shortcuts




    For many years I was a die-hard Safari fan, you couldn’t have pulled me away from it… that is, until Firefox came along. Firefox is speedy, secure, and entirely cross platform compatible, and is now my primary web browser of choice. One of the better ways to improve the user experience with any application is by learning some essential keyboard shortcuts, so here are fifteen such shortcuts for Firefox. Whether you are new to Firefox or a long time user, this list of keyboard shortcuts will likely be useful to you.


    Must Know Firefox keyboard shortcuts


    Spacebar (page down)

    Shift + Spacebar (page up)

    Command + D (bookmark current page)

    Function + F5 (reload current page)

    Command + T (open new tab)

    Command + W (close current tab or window)

    Control + Tab (navigate forward through browser tabs)

    Control + Shift + Tab (navigate backward through browser tabs)

    Command + K (go to search box)

    Command + L (go to address bar)

    Command + Enter (auto-complete URL within address bar)

    Command + = (increase screen text size)

    Command + – (decrease screen text size)

    Command + F (find text)

    Control + N (find next occurrence of text)

    These commands will work on Linux and Windows versions of Firefox as well, simply use the Control key in place of the Command key where appropriate.

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    Locate the Wallpaper File When Set as Desktop Picture from Safari




    Have you ever set a desktop wallpaper from Safari, only to wish you had saved the file directly so you could access it later or do something else with it? As long as the desktop picture is still set, you can retrieve the original wallpaper image file easily:

    From the Mac OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G and type ~/Library/Safari/ as the path

    In the Safari folder, look for “Safari Desktop Picture.*” the suffix could be .png, .jpg, or whatever other image type the original picture was

    Copy the “Safari Desktop Picture.jpg” file to the desktop







    The copied file is the wallpaper, you could also move the file instead but moving it will cause the desktop picture to change on next reboot because the source file is no longer in place.

    Any background image set through Safari will always show up in that directory.

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    Is It Better to Shut Down, Sleep, or Leave a Mac Turned On When Not Being Used?





    When it’s not in use, do you shut down your Mac, put it to sleep, or just keep it turned on? Is one choice better than the others? Why and why not? These are great questions, so let us review the choices and why you may want to choose one over the other.
    Sleeping a Mac


    This is my preferred choice because it provides for the easiest and fastest way to resume work while still maintaining hardware. It’s practically instantaneous to sleep a Mac and when you wake it up all of your open apps, documents, window arrangements, and web pages, are exactly where you left off with practically no delay. For the average Mac user who wants to quickly get back to what they were doing, sleeping is perfect.

    Pros: Quickly resume exactly where you left off; sleep and wake can be scheduled or even done remotely

    Cons: Minor power consumption; system temp, swap, and cache files don’t get cleared out during reboot process; system updates requiring reboots don’t install automatically without a manual reboot; performance is best for Macs with 4GB RAM or more

    If you use the Mac every day, simply putting it to sleep when it’s not in use or overnight is probably the best choice. Just be sure to remember to reboot every once in a while to allow system software updates to install as part of a general maintenance routine, though waiting for an OS X Update or Security Update is generally a sufficient time between reboots. You can also gather some gigantic uptimes with this approach which is pretty much a useless statistic other than the nerdy bragging rights, (I’m currently at 35 days, weeeee!) but hey it’s fun to check anyway.

    Shutting the Mac Down


    I basically never shut down a Mac unless it’s going into a longer term state of inactivity or storage. Shutting down a Mac is slower since all open applications and documents have to quit, and then when you turn the machine back on everything has to re-open again to get back to where you were prior to shutdown. OS X Lion made resuming past application states much simpler with the automatic window restore feature (which some dislike and choose to disable), but I still find it too slow to be usable for my instant-on demands.

    Pros: Saves power, doesn’t strain hardware; system temp, memory, swap, and cache files get cleared out during boot; allows for major system updates to install


    : Takes a while to boot up and resume previous activity, no geeky uptime bragging rights
    For the power conscious or for those trying to squeeze the absolute longest lifespan out of hardware and hard disks, shutting down when not in use is the best choice. This is also what you’ll want to do if you’re going to put a Mac in longterm storage, won’t be using it for a longer than a few days, or if you’re going to be traveling with a Mac that isn’t in use during the travel period.

    Keeping a Mac Always Turned On


    Leaving a Mac constantly turned on is another viable option, though I think it’s best reserved for Macs that function as servers. This approach also carries the most polar advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, you don’t have to bother resuming anything since it’s already on, you can schedule all maintenance and backup tasks to occur in the wee hours of system inactivity, and it allows for something like a constantly available SSH server or media center to be running on the machine. The downsides are basically the constant power consumption and the constantly active hardware, which can limit overall lifespans of the computer components.

    pros
    : No waiting for use; instantly resume all apps and tasks exactly where you left off; allows for servers to run with constant accessibility; backup and system maintenance tasks can be scheduled for off hours
    cons
    : Constant power consumption; more wear and tear on hard drives, fans, and physical hardware due to possible heat
    If you’re running a server or media center, leaving a Mac turned on constantly is a no brainer. For the casual Mac user, it’s probably best to put a Mac to sleep when it’s not in use though, it gives hard drives and fans a rest, and will generally lead to a longer lifespan of the computer.

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    Preview & Watch Videos Directly in Spotlight




    From Mac OS X Lion and onward, videos and movie files can be previewed and played directly in the Spotlight search results menu. To try this out for yourself:

    Hit Command+Space and search for a movie or video file

    Hover over the video search result until the thumbnail preview pops up to the left

    Hover over the thumbnail to find a “Play” button

    This isn’t really a viable option to watch a long video, but it is extremely useful to quickly locate a specific video or a scene within some movie file without opening a ton of individual files into QuickTime Player.

    A similar feature lets you play videos directly in a Finder window, that feature works in Mac OS X 10.6 and earlier as well.

    4-13-12

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    Ad Blockers for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari




    While some web ads are unobtrusive, others are really annoying. If you’re tired of seeing web ads, you can install adblock extensions in every major web browser and never see another ad again.

    Obligatory notice: blocking ads prevents web publishers from supporting themselves, ad revenue is what pays the bills for websites like this one and countless others. Read on for responsible ad blocking tips.


    3 Plugins to Block Ads in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari

    Because these are browser based extensions and plugins, they are cross platform compatible:

    ChromeAdBlock Extension – very effective ad block plugin for Chrome, blocks out all web ads but gives you customization options and manual filters. This allows you to to exclude specific domains from the blocklist allowing you to support content publishers you visit frequently (like us!), or just block ads from the most annoying ad servers.

    FireFoxAdBlock Plus Extension – probably the most popular ad block plugin to exist with over 120 million downloads. Highly effective, customizable down to individual ads and adservers, domain exclusions, it’s got it all. My personal favorite because it hides CSS divs that contained the ads too, which removes a lot of the white space that other ad blocking tools cause.

    SafariAdBlock Extension – the best ad blocker plugin for Safari. Brought to you by the the same guy who made the AdBlock browser extension for Chrome, it includes all of the same features: customizable, manual filters, full Safari integration.
    What are some basic do’s and don’ts of responsible ad blocking? Here’s a digested version of the information I’ve elaborated on below:

    Don’t use ad blockers on websites you like and want to support

    Do use ad blockers on the webs seedier neighborhoods – this is particularly vital for Windows users as it can help in preventing malware

    Do consider using ad blockers in limited bandwidth situations, including iPhone and smartphone tethering with data transfer limits, locations with weak internet connectivity, etc

    When & Why You Should Block Ads

    Some ads are annoying, really annoying: popups, popunders, talking ads, and Flash ads are particularly obnoxious for Mac users since Flash consumes a lot of CPU and reduces battery life on Mac laptops. Some sketchy websites, particularly in the Windows world, have ads that are intentionally deceptive and try to get you to download stuff you don’t want, or even worse, install malware. You can block all of these ads and the web becomes a quieter place, and in many cases, blocking ads even speeds up your web browsing experience. For users with bandwidth restrictions or without a strong broadband internet connection, an adblocker can make the difference between a speedy web experience and a slow one.

    Why You Should NOT Block Ads

    Lecture time: the simple fact is that blocking ads deprives web publishers from supporting and monetizing their sites and content, no advertising generally means no free content, and we all like free content as opposed to paywalls. Keep this in mind when you’re using adblock utilities. Even if you use an adblocker tool, it’s good practice to whitelist sites that you like and want to support (like us!), so take a minute or two and whitelist the sites you like, we appreciate it. Plain and simple, web advertising supports the free web, and keeping ads around keeps your content free.

    Recommended Uses of Ad Blocking Extensions

    As I mentioned above, using adblock extensions makes perfect sense in some situations, most notably in those where bandwidth is limited for whatever reason or when you are browsing around known shady websites (various download, lyric, music, video, etc, you know the type).

    My personal favorite use of ad blockers comes along with internet tethering. We all know by now that AT&T doesn’t like unofficial tethering methods so if you want to tether an iPhone, you have to pay for a tethering plan to use the Personal Hotspot feature. Unfortunately, the AT&T tethering plan only offers 4GB of bandwidth per month, which isn’t much. With such limited bandwidth, every bit (or byte) counts, and so I have a dedicated web browser with AdBlock installed specifically for when I am tethering my iPhone. Other than saving bandwidth, the other advantage here is that it speeds up web browsing from a tethered connection, since cell phones just aren’t as fast as fiber broadband connections (yet, at least).

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    Preview a URL Directly in Mail for Mac OS X




    Everyone gets emails filled with links, but what do you do when an incoming message includes a potentially dubious URL that you aren’t quite so sure about? Rather than crossing your fingers and blindly clicking the link to open in the default web browser, try this tip out:

    Hover over the URL within the mail message until you see the grey box with a triangle in it
    Click the little grey box to open the URL in Quick Look




    The URL in question will render within a self contained Quick Look frame. This allows you to see and scroll through the website in question without actually loading it into a web browser, making it a perfect solution for quickly sorting through groups of link heavy emails or those special emails from your uncle.

    Similar Quick Look features exist elsewhere in native OS X apps, even in the Finder and in Spotlight menu results.


    4-17-12

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    Find Large Files in Mac OS X with Search



    Whether you’re feeling the pinch as hard drive space runs low or you’re just wondering where all your disk space went, it’s easy to find large files in Mac OS X by using the built-in search tools. Here’s what to do:

    From the Mac OS X Desktop, open any new Finder window

    Hit Command+F to bring up Search

    Click on “Kind” filter and select “Other”, then select “File Size” from the attribute list

    Click on the second filter and choose “is greater than”

    In the third space, enter the size to search for anything greater than (ex: 100) and choose either MB or GB as the final filter

    The file and app list below will automatically update as anything larger than the specified file size is found on the hard drive. Be sure that “This Mac” is selected if you’re getting limited results, though you can also use the search limiters to find large files contained within single folders or user directories.

    Click on the “Save” button in the upper right corner and you’ll turn the File Size search into a Smart Folder that can be easily accessed from the sidebar for easy future retrieval, that folder will constantly be updated with large files only.

    A common pit of enormous files is the user Downloads folder, when using the file size search don’t be surprised if you run into a fair amount of .dmg and .zip files sitting idly in there that have long been forgotten.


    4-17-12

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    How to Recover Hard Disk Space on a Mac with OmniDiskSweeper




    Running out of disk space is no fun and Mac users with smaller drives need to be particularly aware of available disk space. The OS X Finder Search feature can be used to find large files but if you’re really serious about managing disk space and tracking down unnecessary large files and folders, you should use a free tool called OmniDiskSweeper.

    OmniDiskSweeper is an excellent application for Mac OS X that shows everything on a hard disk in descending order by size, each directory can then be drilled down into further to quickly locate the largest files, and the offending folders or files can be deleted directly from the app. Finding the large files and folders with OmniDiskSweeper is quick and painless:

    Download OmniDiskSweeper (free), copy it to your /Applications/ folder, and launch the app

    Click on your primary hard disk, typically labeled “Macintosh HD”

    Let OmniDiskSweeper sweep the drive to find all files by size, then click on the topmost directories to find items that can be deleted

    Important: OmniDiskSweeper is intended for users who are knowledgable about their Mac file system. If you don’t absolutely know what a file or directory is and if it’s necessary or not, do not delete it! There is no going back, and if you accidentally delete important system files or folders you may find yourself having to recover from a backup or reinstalling OS X. You’ve been warned.

    Exactly what can be removed is going to vary per user and per drive, but everyone will certainly find items that are no longer necessary to keep around. For example, sweeping my drive with OmniDiskSweeper I discovered and removed the following items:

    The user ~/Library/Application Support/ directory contained 1GB of files for apps that are no longer used

    Spotify Caches were taking up 1GB of disk space, removing that and deleting unnecessary user caches recovered 2GB of disk space immediately

    Over 1GB of unused OS X Voices were removed

    The Downloads folder has become enormous, deleting everything from there recovered a quick 4GB

    900MB of unused and long forgotten Applications were uninstalled freeing up space

    Ultimately how much all this matters and how much disk space you need to reclaim is going to depend on the capacity of a Mac hard drive. I use a MacBook Air 11″ with only a 64GB SSD making each 1GB of unnecessary files or folders significant, and I was able to quickly recover about 12% of total disk capacity just by looking through OmniDiskSweeper and removing what I know isn’t needed.

    Consider adding OmniDiskSweeper to part of a general Mac maintenance routine, even those with very large hard drives will find it to be an effective method of keeping a file system under control.

    4-19-12

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